Day 48, to Belleville, Kan.: Fewer soybeans, more frolicking calves (and yes, there's video) - Chris Cross America - CycleBlaze

June 9, 2022

Day 48, to Belleville, Kan.: Fewer soybeans, more frolicking calves (and yes, there's video)

I won't beat around the bush. Here's the video of the baby cows (bear in mind that I'm on the side of the road and they're in a field, so it's a little distant):

Thursday stats

Start: Marysville City Park in Marysville, Kan.

End: Super 8 in Belleville, Kan.

The Daily Progress: 53.19 miles

The Ascension: 1,932 feet

Ice cream flavors: Cookies and cream (Breyer's, from the Family Dollar next to the Super 8)

Food expenses: $25

Lodging expenses: $78 +5 tip. + 2 for laundry. I skipped the discount hotel booking services this time and booked directly to take advantage of a deal (book a night at the full rate on two separate bookings and get a third night free).

Thursday recap

I woke with my covid mask shielding my eyes, with the memory of Steve's beeping backup truck fresh in my mind. But I thought to myself, "That mask idea worked great. That was actually a comfortable night's sleep!" 

Soon after, the grass mowing started. Well, I guess this should be expected in a city park. For free camping with access to water, electricity and a bathroom, still a good deal.

So let's get to it: I made breakfast, packed up and hit the road. Ride two blocks north to get back to U.S. 36. Turn left. Ride on for 53 miles. Stop for a quick lunch at a Casey's gas station along the way. Check the weather. (Always be checking the weather.) 

Suddenly, while I'm still at the Casey's, a siren goes off. What?! Is that a tornado siren? I glance around the parking lot. There area few other people around, but they don't even flinch. I'm about to bolt into the store when someone calls out from his car. It's just the dinner bell, he explains. They sound it off at noon every day. If you hear it and it's not noon, that's when it's time to panic. 


Back to checking the forecast. I notice that the radar shows a storm crossing my path but moving to the south before I would get to it. Phew!

I head back out. Sure enough, a storm is passing to the south.

To the south (left), a thunderstorm passes. To the west (right), the road leads toward blue skies.
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This anecdote seems to support the idea that wind direction on the ground can differ from the direction in the sky. The storm was moving out of the northwest. The wind on the ground was coming from the south. I kept thinking the storm was going to be blown northward by the southerly wind I was experiencing, but it never happened. Woohoo!

The ride was smooth sailing. In the opposite direction, I passed another cyclist. We stopped for a quick chat. His name was Mowgli. He was from China. Here's biking across North America and down through South America this year, and then is over to Africa to traverse that continent, followed by Europe and Asia. He built his own bike frame out of bamboo, which included a hand-carved map of the world. Truly amazing.

Towns in this area are very spread out. After stopping in Washington for lunch, there was about 20 miles before the next town, Cuba, which didn't seem to have any services. A few miles beyond Cuba, I saw dark clouds ahead. Crap. I still had nearly 8 miles to go to reach Belleville, my destination for the day. I had read on some cycling forum that one of the advantages of traveling west is that you can see the weather you're heading into. That's true, but it also creates a dilemma: When you see bad weather ahead, what do you do? Turn around? Or haul ass and hope you reach your destination before getting slammed by the storm?

I quickly check the weather app. Luckily it doesn't expect anything severe. So I haul ass. And I make it to the Super 8 just as the rain starts coming down on me. By the time I finished checking in, it was pouring.

Of course, it was a short downpour. I probably could have kept going, but as I said, towns are very spread out. I would have needed to go another 30 miles. And more storms are expected tonight. So ... never mind. Fifty-three miles is plenty far for the day.

I turn on the TV, watch the weather channel and look to see if there's anything worth watching before bed. What? There's a primetime congressional hearing? Wow. I was not expecting that. Maybe I'm doing too good a job at taking a break from the news.

Today's ride: 53 miles (85 km)
Total: 1,844 miles (2,968 km)

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